Finding the right employee is a long process, and not one that you want to do over again. If you took the time to find the perfect employee you want them to stay with you for the long haul.
You want your new employee to love their job as much as you love your company. But employee happiness is about more than just the work that they produce.
Happiness at work has more to do with the company the employee works for, the people they work with and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Setting your new employee up for success starts with the onboarding process.
Your first question is likely, “what the heck is onboarding?” Onboarding is the process of introducing the new employee to your culture, brand, and business objectives.
Onboarding is so much more than just having your new employee fill out paperwork. It’s welcoming them to your work family, and sharing your heart and your passion with them. It’s a time to show them WHY you are in business. If an employee knows WHY their work is important, they will be more productive and focused.
I am going to show you the three steps of the On-Boarding Process. In those steps we will review:
- How to Utilize the right technology
- How HR Software makes your job easier
- What an Onboarding checklist looks like
- How to tell your employees you have a new person starting
- How to celebrate the arrival of the new employee
- Teaching your language
- How to have rockstar leadership
- Goal setting
- Performance reviews
When you are done, you will have the happiest new employee for life. Get them to love you in the first six months and you’re in like Flynn.
Do you really need to onboard a new employee?
Let me ask you this. Would you consider your first impression with a customer important? YES. Of course you do! And why is that? It will set the tone for your ongoing relationship from that point forward. Why would you not want the same for your employees?
Approximately 90% of employees make the decision to stay at a company within the first six months. According to the Aberdeen Group, a research and consulting firm that specializes in helping businesses improve performance., organizations with structured onboarding enjoy a 60% improvement in revenue per full-time employee, and a 63% improvement in customer satisfaction. Onboarding is an important first step for your new employee’s success within your organization.
Step 1: Pre-Arrival
Onboarding should begin before the employee does. Prepare for the arrival of that new employee. If she/he shows up on day one and you don’t even have a computer, it gives the impression that your company does not know how to prepare, and it leaves the employee feeling like they are not needed.
The Right Technology
Before you start ordering computers, you need to have the right technology in place. It will help you promote a team atmosphere. For Fearless Social, we all work remotely, which makes having a team vibe a little more difficult. Difficult, but not impossible with things like instant messaging, video chats, and meeting / project management software.
Use technology to your advantage. All can be used on mobile applications, meaning you can work from literally anywhere. These technologies foster a connection that is stronger than emails or even phone calls. There is still nothing like a face-to-face conversation, even if it is through your computer screen.
Choose technology that works best for your tribe. Keep in mind that everyone will need to have the bandwidth to keep up with those technologies. We pay a stipend to cover internet costs for our employees.
Cross Your T’s and Dot Your I’s
Once you have your technology in place, it’s time to prepare for your new employee. Start by creating all the documents you need the new hire to fill out. Those include:
- Employee Contract
- Confidentiality Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- IRS Form W4
- I9 Employment Eligibility Verification
- State W4
- Insurance and 401K paperwork
Make your Job Easy
You will want the employee to have the forms filled out before their first day. We make that process easy with human resources (HR) software called Bamboo HR.
This software allows us to give our new employees easy access to all of the paperwork we need to have filled out. It also allows him/her to sign the documents and store them in the employee’s file. The main reason that we love Bamboo HR is because we can create our own onboarding checklist within the system.
That system allows us to assign tasks to our new employee, the managers, and to the HR department as well. If I can give you one piece of advice that I want you to take away, it’s to invest in a good HR software system.
Having an HR software system in place allows employee access to valuable information, like the employee handbook, employee reviews, forms, and contact lists—any time they may need them.
In our onboarding checklist, we have a list of items that must be done before the employee starts. Those tasks include ordering hardware, software, business cards, and setting them up in our online systems (like email and company chat).
Doing these things weeks before the new employee starts allows us to focus on the important things, like teaching company culture their first week. Below is a look at our Pre-Arrival Checklist.
You have gone through all of your tasks on your pre-arrival check list. You’re ready to go. But are your current employees ready?
Can you imagine how awesome it would be for the new employee to open their email with all of those welcome emails waiting for them? I know I would! Below is an example of what we sent out on our new hire Nick!
Step 2: The First Week
The computer is set up, all the software is installed, and their business cards are sitting on their desk, ready to be handed out. That new employee is prepared to have an amazing first week on the job. But what does that first week look like?
Time for a Celebration
You have taken the time to find that perfect employee who will stay with your company for years to come. People today are looking for more than just a J.O.B. Employees are looking for an organization that they can connect with.
Create an experience where someone walks in and everyone is expecting them, excited about their arrival. Show them how you have fun at work, and how they can get involved in life outside of the office. Set up a happy hour so that your new employee can meet their new team members.
Take that new employee out to lunch. If you are like us, and you work remotely, taking someone to lunch is impossible. Instead, send them a gift card to a restaurant in their area to treat them to lunch, even if you can’t be there.
Teach Them Your Language
Don’t assume that someone will know the lingo of your organization or the industry. They may be in your industry, but that does not always mean that they will know exactly the same terms that you do.
Every company has their own secret language and jargon. It is made up of acronyms, shorthand, and inside jokes that can be intimidating and alienating for some new hires. Create a translation dictionary to share with the team.
Also, it is a great idea to have a knowledge bank of common company information, such as FAQ’s, training documents, and inner office information. We use Trello boards for these. These knowledge banks train your new hires on how to handle any situation they may face. It also helps them learn to look for the answers first, before going to their manager for answers.
Small and Manageable Assignments
The last thing that you want to do is overwhelm someone their first week. It is also just as bad if they are bored to death and wondering why they are there. Meeting all of the employees and getting to know the culture and background of the company can be overwhelming.
Give your new employee small, manageable tasks that they can complete on their own. This will get their feet wet, and will give them a glimpse into the work they will be doing on a daily basis.
When I started at Fearless Social, I spent my first week going through the HR files to find any missing information. It allowed me to see what systems we had in place, or what systems we really needed. It also helped me get a feel for all the employees we currently had on staff. The task was not overwhelming, but it helped me get my feet wet.
It is also one of the reasons we started using Bamboo HR. I identified and area of weakness that could be fixed from week one, which made me feel like I was not only useful, but a valuable member of the team from the start.
Step 3: The First 6 Months
So, the first week has been all about celebrating the new employee, teaching them about your culture, introducing them to the work family, and giving them small but manageable tasks to get their feet wet.
If you followed the steps up until now, you have an employee who is engaged and excited to be a part of your team. But how do you keep that going? The onboarding process doesn’t stop after one week of welcomes and a lunch.
Onboarding should continue for six months to a year. Consider it employee courtship. Although it’s no longer about wooing the employee, it’s about keeping them engaged.
Be prepared to communicate, A LOT! You should be communicating with your new hire weekly. Have a meeting every Friday to go through everything that has happened throughout the week. During this meeting, answer any questions they may have.
Be prepared to be constantly available to help answer any questions that may come up between meetings as well. Create a Google document that both you and the new employee have access to. In that document, the new employee writes out all their questions, and managers can see these and respond to them. This also gives you a great list of things that you may need to include in your onboarding of future hires.
Send emails to your new hire with situations and see how they would respond to them, almost in a roleplay type of scenario. This allows you to continue to train them in how to answer questions. This type of training also opens up communication between you and the new employee, making it easier for them to ask questions when they arise, without feeling embarrassed to do so.
You should set goals for your new employee’s first 30, 60, and 90 days. Once each period has ended, the manager should sit down with the employee and clearly go over the goals. Discuss how well they met, or did not meet, their goal(s), and any obstacles that keep them from hitting a goal.
In this meeting, I use our performance review. This allows the employee to get to know our review process. It also allows them to give feedback on how they feel they are doing. This will help manage everyone’s expectations.
As I stated before, allowing the employee to go through the performance review during their first 30/60/90 days will train them in your review process.
At Fearless Social, we have three times that an employee may go through a formal review.
- at six months
- post probation
There are debates on a formal review process. Some experts support it, while others are adamantly against it. My view on it is: how do you know you are successful at your job if no one tells you? On the other hand, how do you know areas that you are failing if no one tells you?
In our review process, we start by asking the employee to fill out a self-evaluation. The evaluation asks them how they feel they are performing their job, and then also asks them how their manager is performing. Below is a partial look into our employee job evaluation.
Then the manager (without seeing the employee’s review) fills one out on how the employee is performing. At the meeting, both evaluations are discussed. This allows us to gauge someone’s personal perspective on their performance against reality. Below is a glimpse into our manager evaluation.
If you start the onboarding process before the employee even begins, and you continue that process for the first year, you will have an amazingly engaged employee who is a rockstar from the very beginning.
Keep in mind that employee’s don’t become rockstars just because you show them your company culture. They become rockstars because you have other employees who make new employees feel welcome, and you enable your leaders to communicate effectively, leaving no question unanswered. Teamwork is what makes a great working environment.
Tell us what you do to make your new employees feel like a part of the team in the comments below.
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